Egypt Independent

Teargas hits Tahrir as conflicting reports of injuries nationwide emerge

Teargas canisters landed in Tahrir Square as fighting raged around the perimeter between police and protesters, according to AFP, as conflicting reports of the number of casualties begin to come in from the Health Ministry.

The Health Ministry released a statement Wednesday that 116 people were injured nationwide during protests Tuesday, including 77 in clashes in the Delta city of Mahalla and 25 in Tahrir Square.

However, a source from the ministry reportedly told state-run news agency MENA that 36 protesters were injured in Port Said alone as clashes flared between Brotherhood members and the group’s opponents.

Tuesday’s injuries came as thousands in Tahrir and around the country protested against President Mohamed Morsy’s recent constitutional declaration, issued Thursday, granting himself sweeping powers beyond judicial review and protecting the embattled Constituent Assembly and Shura Council from dissolution.

Earlier reports had put the number of injured in Mahalla as high as 300. Morsy supporters and opponents threw Molotov cocktails and stones at each other, and the Freedom and Justice Party’s media spokesperson in Mahalla, Mamdouh Mounir, claimed that 200 Muslim Brotherhood members were injured there.

Mounir further alleged that anti-Brotherhood protesters had prevented ambulances from reaching injured group members.

In Port Said, Morsy opponents and Brotherhood members pelted each other with stones.  The Health Ministry source also told MENA that some sustained gunshot wounds, while eyewitnesses said that masked gunmen fired live rounds and birdshot at protesters and that three football fans from the Ultras Green Eagles group, supporting the local team Al-Masry, were injured near the Brotherhood’s headquarters.

In Cairo, AFP reported that ongoing clashes off of Tahrir spilled into the square Wednesday morning. Teargas canisters fell into the crowd, with television images showing protesters running for cover and clouds of teargas spreading over tents erected for a sit-in.

Clashes between protesters and the police in the streets surrounding the square have entered their ninth day, stemming from a commemoration march last year to mark the one-year anniversary of the Mohamed Mahmoud Street clashes in the same area.